April 26 – 33rd anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster
Tragic date in the history of Belarus is approaching - another anniversary of the largest technological catastrophe not only in the territory of the former Soviet Union, but also, in the whole world. The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant affected fates of millions of people, the scale of the accident was so great that it took heroic efforts by executives of all ranks, professionals, ordinary people to quickly assess the radiation situation, develop technical and managerial solutions aimed at preventing even more serious consequences of the catastrophe and organization of events to save life and health of ppeople.
Belhydromet together with other ministries and institutions took part in elimination of consequences of the Chernobyl NPP disaster.
Since 1963 Belarus have measured gamma-radiation dose rate (MD) at a network of hydrometeorological stations, and then control points for radioactive fallout from the atmosphere were introduced (natural precipitation from the atmosphere was sampled using horizontal plates). Radiation monitoring network available in 1986 made it possible to estimate dynamics of gamma-radiation dose rate levels and iodine-131 and cesium-137 concentrations in the air in first days after the Chernobyl disaster.
One of the most important and urgent areas in the aftermath of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Belarus was the organization of work to assess radioactive contamination of the territory and phased creation of radiation monitoring system.
In order of Belhydromet No. 80 dated 05/19/1986 in connection with the expansion of work on control of radioactive contamination of south-eastern territory of the BSSR at Minsk Center for Radiation Control and Environmental Pollution Research (CRVP) organized laboratory for control of radioactive contamination in order to strengthen and expand radiation monitoring work. Radiation and radiation-environmental monitoring departments have been established on the basis of Minsk CRSPS with spectrometry laboratories, radiation monitoring of surface waters, soil and atmospheric air.
In 1986 soil sampling was organized in contaminated areas near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in which took part specialists from the center. For these purposes helicopters were chartered in Moscow and sets of protective clothing were purchased.
On the basis of data on density of radioactive contamination of the territory of Belarus, obtained as a result of expeditionary surveys, already in June 1986, Institute of Nuclear Energy of the Academy of Sciences of BSSR (now State Institute of Nuclear Physics and Electronics-Sosny) prepared first radioactive contamination map of the territory of the republic with cesium-137, where directly took part Behydromet specialists.
In 1987, together with Moscow specialists, an expedition was conducted to examine water bodies polluted as a result of the Chernobyl accident. Expedition was carried out on ship of Gomel Shipping Company.
Through Belhydromet laboratory passed a huge stream of samples of natural objects, taken in south-eastern part of Belarus, and then throughout the territory of the republic. Test results of samples were analyzed for accuracy, systematized and recorded first on paper, then in specialized electronic database.
To ensure compliance with unified methodological guidance for assessment of radioactive contamination, coordination of data obtained by various departments Council of Ministers of Belarussian SSR No. 555 from 12/12/1989 established an Interdepartmental Commission for Radiation Control of Natural Environment at Belhydromet.
In 1991, The Law of the Republic of Belarus “On legal regime of territories subjected to radioactive contamination as a result of the Chernobyl NPP disaster” was adopted, in which functions of Belhydromet were legislatively fixed: conducting general assessment of radiation situation in the republic (radiation monitoring), maintaining data bank on radioactive contamination of the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
During this period Belhydromet organized large-scale radiation survey of populated areas of the Republic of Belarus including a household survey of populated areas located in radioactively contaminated area (territories with 137Cs contamination levels 37 kBq / m2 (1 Ci / km2) and more). Survey results were systematized, analyzed and used in zoning the territory of the republic according to levels of radioactive contamination.
According to the Law of the Republic of Belarus No. 258-З from 12.05.1999. “On introducing changes and amendments to the Law of the Republic of Belarus“ On the legal regime of territories subjected to radioactive contamination as a result of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant ”at least once every 5 years on the basis of updated data is updated and approved by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus related to radioactively contaminated areas.
The project of the List and maps of zones of radioactive contamination is being prepared by Belhydromet specialists. The adopted zoning is effectively used in planning and carrying out measures to minimize consequences of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and ensure radiation safety of population. Since 1987, Belhydromet conducts regular observations of radioactive contamination of rivers of Dnieper basin - Pripyat, Dnieper, Sozh, Iput, Besed, and since 1993 - observations of vertical migration of radionuclides on the network of landscape-geochemical sites located on various soil types.
Our specialists participated in number of international programs of European Commission, including preparation of Atlas of European Pollution with Cesium-137; international project of Franco-German Chernobyl Initiative “Radioecological Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident”.
As part of implementation of measures of Joint Action Program to Overcome Consequences of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in framework of the Union State uniform technical documents were developed in 1997–2010 for two states to monitor environmental radioactive contamination, thematic Atlas of current and forecasted aspects of the accident in affected areas of Russia and Belarus the radiation situation in the border areas of Russia and Belarus has been clarified United States.
Databases were formed based on the results of the survey of Polesye State Radiation and Ecological Reserve. Measuring equipment and computer equipment acquired at the expense of the Allied programs allowed us to raise radiation monitoring and environmental monitoring to a higher level.
For the past 33 years, the republic has been doing everything possible to mitigate consequences of the Chernobyl accident, to return part of radioactively contaminated land to economic use, and to provide social protection to affected population.
Currently radiation monitoring in the Republic of Belarus is carried out as part of National Environmental Monitoring System in the Republic of Belarus. Collection, processing, analysis, and storage of the results of observations are carried out using modern information technology. Archival data on radiation situation is used to prepare certificates on the density of radioactive contamination of populated areas, which are necessary to providing social protection bodies with social benefits, including pensions. Certificates are issued free of charge when the applicant contacts Belhydromet.
On the eve of the anniversary of the Chernobyl accident we gratefully remember former and current employees of Belhydromet, who showed dedication and high professionalism in the most difficult conditions of the first period of elimination of the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant: Pokumeyko Y.M., Gruk P.V., Skuratovich I.M., Rudneva S.P., Matveenko I.I., Solenov I.P., Sych V.N., Polishchuk A.I., Khamitsevich N.R., Bakhirev V.N., Nikolaychik V.I., Kotov A.P., Shagalova E.D., Rovkach A.I., Kuznetsov E.D., Ponomarenko B.A., Pivovar P.A., Patokin A.I., Kozlovsky A.V., Klimenok A.I., Tishchikov G.M., Nikishina T.A., Obraz M.E., Berlovich S.V., Samsonov V.L., Germenchuk M.G., Zhukova O.M., Ambrazhevich M.L., Petrovsky O.M., Pliner E.R., Leitus A.I., Soroka A.V., Demenchuk M.A., Kovalev N.P., Korobko V.I., Mastibrotsky P.E., Shutko A.G., Popov V.V., Gurnovsky A.S., Zubov M.N., Ponomarenko B.I., arfenov V.V.,
Sushchenya V.V., Maksyuta O.M., Guzilevich S.A. and many others ... Not all of them have status of a liquidator, but their role in eliminating and minimizing consequences of the disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in the establishment and development of radiation monitoring of environment in the Republic of Belarus is invaluable.